Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. I was fully occupied by our annual evaluation and planning meetings this week. That’s why I had no time to write my journal. I am glad I could come back to office a little bit earlier to enjoy some leisure time with God. I believe we all need a prayer break or devotional break from our hectic schedule in life.
So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his enfolding grace (2 Corinthians 4:16). We all know people who spend a lifetime at the same job, or the same marriage, or the same profession, who are slowly, inexorably diminished in the process. They are persistent in the sense that they keep doing the same thing for many years, but we don’t particularly admire them for it. If anything, we feel sorry for them for having got stuck in such an uninteresting rut with neither the energy nor imagination to get out.
But we don’t feel sorry for Jeremiah. He was not stuck in a rut; he was committed to a purpose. The one thing that Jeremiah shows no evidence of is bored drudgery. Everything we know of him shows that after the twenty-three years his imagination is even more alive and his spirit even more resilient than it was in his youth. He wasn’t putting in his time. Every day was a new episode in the adventure of living the prophetic life. The days added up to a life of incredible tenacity, of amazing stamina.
The mark of a certain kind of genius is the ability and energy to keep returning to the same task relentlessly, imaginatively, curiosity for a lifetime. Never give up and go on to something else; never get distracted and be diverted to something else. Augustine wrote fifteen commentaries on the book of Genesis. He began at the beginning. He never felt that he had got to the depths of the first book of the Bible, down to the very origins of life, the first principles of God’s ways with us. He kept returning to those first questions. Beethoven composed sixteen string quartets because he has never satisfied with what he had done. The quartet form intrigued and challenged him. Perfection eluded him—he kept coming back to it over and over in an attempt at mastery. We think he did pretty well with them, but he didn’t think so. So he persisted, bringing fresh, creative energy to each day’s attempt. The same thing over and over, and yet it is never the same thing, for each venture is resplendent with dazzling creativity.
Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised. God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours (Hebrews 11:39-40). The text of faithfulness is not on how big a faith you have to take on huge project for God. It is how committed you are to the divine purpose for your life. God has a plan for each one of our lives. We are called to give our best to work on it day and night. As you are doing what God intended for you to live and work, your lives will never be bored. It is full of challenge and energy to press on. The martyrs do not hate life. They love life so much that they want to live it to the fullest extent for their life giver.
Love you in Christ,